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Georges-Kevin N'Koudou: All you need to know about the Tottenham transfer target

Georges-Kevin N'Koudou 18 July 2016

Tottenham are in talks to sign Marseille winger Georges-Kevin N'Koudou, according to Sky sources.

The 21-year-old is said to have come to Spurs' attention while they were scouting his former Marseille team-mate Michy Batshuayi, who joined Chelsea earlier this month.

Spurs chase winger
Spurs chase winger

Tottenham want Marseille's Georges-Kevin N'Koudou

Reports in France claim Spurs have already agreed a £10.8m fee with Marseille for N'Koudou, but who exactly is he? And is he a good fit for Mauricio Pochettino's side?

What's his background?

N'Koudou in action for Nantes against Caen in 2014/15
Image: N'Koudou featured regularly for Nantes in the 2014/15 season

N'Koudou came through the youth ranks at Nantes after being turned away by Paris Saint-Germain. The Versaille-born forward made his Nantes debut as an 18-year-old substitute in a Ligue 1 clash with Bastia in August 2013, but it wasn't until the 2014/15 campaign that he began to feature regularly.

The youngster made 16 league starts and 12 substitute appearances that season, scoring twice and claiming one assist as Nantes finished 14th. N'Koudou had already featured for France's U17s, U19s and U20s, and soon enough he made the step up to the U21s.

His youthful promise attracted interest from Marseille, who agreed a £1m deal to take him to the Stade Velodrome in June 2015. Manager Marcelo Bielsa departed just two months later and Marseille finished the season in 14th place, but the impact of their young winger was a major positive.

With Dimitri Payet sold to West Ham, N'Koudou became a regular starter on Marseille's left flank, combining to good effect with striker Batshuayi and finishing the campaign with 10 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions. One year on from signing him, L'OM now stand to make a huge profit.

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What are his strengths?

Michy Batshuayi goal celeb, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Bouna Sarr, Abdelaziz Barrada, Caen v Marseille, Ligue 1, January 2016
Image: N'Koudou (right) celebrates with his Marseille team-mates last season

N'Koudou is a fast, hard-working winger who loves to run with the ball and take on defenders. He is comfortable on either foot, meaning opponents can never be sure whether he will charge down the flank to cross, or cut inside to go for goal himself.

His scoring record of a goal every four games last season highlights his attacking threat. He has a powerful long-range shot and he is also confident when dispatching chances in the penalty box.

One of his biggest strengths is his dribbling ability. Only six players in Ligue 1 averaged more successful dribbles per game than N'Koudou (2.3) last season. His pace is dangerous on the counter-attack, and his quick feet and acceleration allow him to beat defenders from a standing position.

What are his weaknesses?

N'Koudou takes on Nice's defender Paul Baysse in Ligue 1 last season
Image: N'Koudou takes on Nice defender Paul Baysse

N'Koudou has taken major strides forward since joining Marseille from Nantes, but at 21 he is still a relatively inexperienced and raw talent with plenty of maturing to do.

The trickery is eye-catching when it comes off, but N'Koudou's close control lets him down at times. The stats show he was dispossessed more frequently (3.0 times per game) than any of his Marseille team-mates last season, and he also ranked first for unsuccessful touches (2.5 per game).

He might need to be more economical in possession if he joins Spurs, but Pochettino will hope his decision-making improves as his development continues.

Is he a good fit for Spurs?

N'Koudou pictured with his former Marseille team-mate Michy Batshuayi
Image: N'Koudou pictured with his former Marseille team-mate Michy Batshuayi

N'Koudou can play on either flank and would add width to a squad light on natural wingers. His pace and power is well suited to Tottenham's dynamic attacking style, and he would certainly hope to make a bigger impact than fellow winger Clinton N'Jie, who has hardly featured since joining Spurs from Lyon last summer.

N'Koudou fits the profile of Tottenham's young, hungry squad, and the Bielsa link is also interesting. The former Marseille boss is one of Pochettino's biggest coaching influences, and while he only spent a couple of months working with N'Koudou, the decision to sign him shows he thought the youngster was a good fit for the high-intensity playing style both he and Pochettino subscribe to.

N'Koudou nominated for award
N'Koudou nominated for award

N'Koudou was one of 37 players nominated by journalists for UEFA's Best Player in Europe award.

Tottenham's attacking players are expected to work tirelessly and press high up the pitch when the opposition have possession, and N'Koudou showed his appreciation for that side of the game in an interview with French newspaper La Provence last July.

"Before attacking, you have to know how to defend well," he said. "That is what is asked of us in training: press, press and press, and when you are in the danger zone, that's when everyone attacks. It's a style of play that suits me."

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